Where the payroll stands

Calculator.jpgI always hated math. The problem throughout childhood was that I was also good at it. This creates quite an issue as you go through school.

I kept testing well, so they kept putting me in increasingly complicated math classes. When you absolutely hate math, this is awful. Maybe I should’ve picked some wrong answers on all those aptitude tests.

Then, the greatest thing happened when I arrived at Michigan State University. Because I was a journalism student, match wasn’t exactly a key requirement. You had to take some math as part of your overall studies, sure, but there was a way out.

I could test out. All those tests that put me in the advanced math classes had led to this — a test to get me out of them. So I took their little test, scored high enough and never had to take a math class while I was at MSU. Go Green!

Why the heck am I rambling on about all this? Well, turns out math is a big part of what I do now. And, because I haven’t studied it in so long, I’m prone to more errors now than I ever was as a kid. Thankfully, Baseball Math mainly sticks to the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplying and dividing.

Luckily, here in the real world — unlike in that jerk of a teacher’s calculus class way back in high school — calculators are allowed. Today’s lesson is in simple addition as we take a glance at how the Indians’ payroll looks in light of Tuesday’s signings of Shin-Soo Choo and the Pitchers Perez.

On the books for 2011

1. DH Travis Hafner: $13 million
2. CF Grady Sizemore: $7.5 million
3. SP Fausto Carmona: $6.1 million
4. OF Shin-Soo Choo: $3.975 million
5. CL Chris Perez: $2.225 million
6. SS Asdrubal Cabrera: $2.025 million
7. RP Rafael Perez: $1.33 million
8. OF Austin Kearns: $1.3 million
9. RP Joe Smith: $870,000
10. RP Jensen Lewis: $650,000

Total: $38.975 million

That figure does not include incentives that are within some of these deals. This leaves us with 15 spots on the Major League roster. For argument sake, let’s say Adam Everett makes the Opening Day roster and gets his $700,000 salary. Now, we’re at $39.675 million for the big-league payroll.

The 14 remaining spots will go to players who will earn at least the league minimum. As is the case with most clubs, some will earn slightly more. With the league minimum around $414,000, let’s go ahead and argue that the last 14 spots will earn an average of $450,000. That equates to $6.3 million.

Estimated total: $45.975 million

That’s a drop of around $15 million from where the payroll stood in 2010. Over the past two years, the payroll has decreased about $35 million. In the near future, the payroll will likely remain slim given the fact that the Tribe will be fielding so much youth, with a crop of prospects on the cusp of breaking into The Show.

These estimates obviously aren’t set in stone right now, but the numbers aren’t likely to vary all that much by Opening Day. Indians GM Chris Antonetti indicated on Tuesday that he is still exploring starting pitching options on the market. A Minor League contract with a spring invite seems the most likely scenario for any pending acquisition.

*Earlier, I wrote incorrectly that Chris Perez’s new deal was worth $2.25 million. His correct salary for the 2011 season is the one listed above at $2.225 million. Apologies.



Do you think it is safe to assume the Indians are in the top 3 when it comes to proportion of payroll covered by revenue sharing?

According to the WSJ, the Indians got $6M out of the revenue sharing pot in 2005 (the last reported data), when the total pot was about $300M and the Indians market was healthier than it is today. Now the total pot is more than $400M and presumably the Indians are getting a bigger share of it than they did 5-years ago.

The payroll will increase as the front office determines which players are “core players” and lock them up to long term extensions. Sort of like what they did from `04 to `09.

Probably because it has not weokrd so far! And I wouldn’t cheer those cuts too soon since it will further deplete the Social Security “lockbox” making it fail even sooner than the projected 10-year window! However, you are correct in that capitol gains’ vs payroll reductions’ does not appear to get equal negative press probably becuase one sounds better than the other! Propaganda at work

Did you consider a patrenrship for Consultants or some other means of profit sharing? The thing about a salary is that you’ll have to pay it even when the company does bad which somehow counters the idea of sharing in the success of the company. If I had all the skills required to work for Percona I’m pretty sure I’d do good on my own as well and only use Percona as multiplicator for my own business so I might as well share alike in the losses (if there are any). The nice thing about payroll taxes from a lawmakers perspective is that not many voter will notice it going up so not as many people will care. And even if you as an employer raise the question it can be construed as cheaping out on your employees’ benefits.

And it will increase as the team identifies which players to add to that “core” group as the team continues to take steps forward — the time when ownership will believe it’s the right time to begin spending more.

I used the word “slim” lightly, meaning they aren’t likely to jump to the $80-$100+ range in the next year or two. Nowhere to go but up, though.


Hi! I have a question. In the recent edition of Tribe Talk that I recieved in my email, it stated this:
“Shin-Soo Choo became the first Indians batter in franchise history to hit 20HR with 20 SB in consecutive seasons”

That’s funny because, while I know Grady Sizemore has been hurt and not playing much these past two seasons, he is still an Indian and from 2005-2008 has hit 20+ HRs with 20 SBs.

Can you please clarify what the above statement meant? Because I’m confused. If consecutive means “following one another in uninterrupted succession or order”, then Grady had “consecutive” seasons of doing just that for those years.

Thank you.

Here’s your clarification…

Choo is the first Indians batter in franchise history to hit at least .300 with at least 20 homers and at least 20 stolen bases in consecutive seasons. Sizemore had the 20/20 combo, yes, but he did not have the .300 average to go along with it.


Really enjoy your beat observations thus far. I think when you look at this years upcoming totals – even forgiving the Hafner expense – the front office deserves some credit. As a diehard I remain cautiously optimistic, partly because living in Phoenix (after 40 born and raised in Cleveland) I’ve had the benefit of watching some of the youngsters up close.

While the past three years have been brutal from a fan standpoint, I don’t think the Dolans have trashed what the Jacobs revitalized – and believe me – I didn’t always feel that way. As a result, starting the Antonetti era with such a low payroll from my view is both necessary and positive.

The other side that has me excited and buying in is the player developement and draft the past two years. The Dolans again don’t get enough credit (particularly from local sports folk – both a travesty and obomination) for investing the savings in payroll when paying out the necessary bonus’ for high draft picks. Thats the only way we get guys like White and Drew P – top prospects. It’s why, despite the dismal track record in development the past 6-7 years, the farm gets high grades in the Biz today.

The last big hurdle is reconnecting with season ticket holders – to me that is the ‘core’ they need most – since I believe in what is comming to the field. Until we get attendence back into the 10th to 15th range – this franchise is going to struggle. I’m hopeful that with a healthy Seizmore and Santana, and progress from fat Matt , Brantley, Carrasco, the front office has a better shot at filling seats.

Again, happy to see a knowledgable baseball writer putting my team under the scope. See ya in Goodyear.

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